Stop searching and choose Villa El Arsa and you won't regret it. If a first time traveler to Marrakech, you will get all the support you need from Noel & Fabrice. We stayed three nights here in March and thoroughly enjoyed it. Beautiful riad in a central location, but still extremely quiet and very tastefully decorated. The real Moroccan feel and just a very short walk to all the action Marrakech has to offer. Very kind hosts with a flare for design and they will do anything to help the guests. We did a cooking lesson and it was wonderful. We went to the market, chose the food, went to a spice market, cooked our dinner and were served our creations that evening next to the fireplace. Very romantic and peaceful with also excellent music. I love their selection of music! Our meal was the best meal we had in two weeks in Morocco! Rooftop terrace is lovely for lounging around and very quiet and private, as well. Breakfasts in the sun every morning with an excellent selection of breads, jams, pancakes, and really good coffee. Nothing is too much trouble for Fabrice and Noel and they really care about their guests and their satisfaction and well-being. Noel's English is good and Fabrice speaks French and some English. Their assistant, Simone is also great. He took us to a spice market and to the very local market to buy veggies and meat. Noel told us a lot about Moroccan history and he and Fabrice are truly interested in the people and the culture. Oh, if you order dinner here, you won't be disappointed. We had an excellent three course meal served again in the lounge with a fire going and great music. Just us alone. Fabrice's cooking is amazing and he takes great pride not only taste, but presentation. Our room was very cute--we stayed in the Princes room with two beds and a real authentic feel. Love the tadelakt effect in the bath and would like to learn how to do it at home. We had an excellent three nights at El Arsa and would highly recommend it to our friends looking for a city trip. Oh, Noel also gave us advice on driving in Morocco--we hired a car for our trip south across the Atlas and it's also wonderful in the country. Don't be afraid, get out and explore.
Marrakech in general is exciting and interesting. You can walk and walk for hours and never be bored. The only negative is the aggressive motorbikes that clog the small narrow roads and alleyways. They're polluting and dangerous. Additionally, you can only take so much of the souks where, even if interested, you don't ask. Once you ask to see something or even turn your head in its direction, you're a target. There are also lots of people who try to 'guide' you and it's best to shrug them off right away. Get lost, it's part of the fun. Give yourself plenty of time to stop, have some refreshment and watch the scenes unfolding in front of you. We didn't find the places we chose to eat particularly good, but the food at El Arsa was fantastic. Seems that everything is watered down to tourist tastes and the spices that Morocco is famous for, well, aren't used. Thanks for a great stay, Colleen and Werner / Basel Switzerland